What we dwell on affects our mindset. When we are dwelling on negative things, it can be hard to turn our thoughts around. Yet, writing from a prison that lacked any comforts, Saint Paul wrote about things we ought to think about: "Finally, brother, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things" (Philippians 4:8). A couple of days ago I read Psalm 119 (yes, that's the longest psalm) in one sitting. In the original, it is an acrostic that follows 22 letters the Hebrew alphabet. The stanzas have eight lines that start with each letter for a total of 176 lines, which we designate as verses. In the style of Hebrew poetry, the lines do not rhyme, but pairs of lines do echo each other in meaning. I tried to write two lines for each letter of the Roman alphabet to help me focus my mind on the types of things I ought to dwell on.
Admirable is the way different instruments come together in an orchestra;
Alto, soprano, tenor, bass as a choir lifts voices in song.
Beyond our comprehension are the spiral galaxies
Bursting with the light of countless distant stars.
Character that develops over time as we face hardships
Cannot be fast-tracked.
Determination seen in the child learning to walk or ride a bike--
Dad and Mom want to help, but need to let go.
Evening's glory as the sun sets--shades of red and purple fill the sky
Echoing the beauty of the Maker.
Flowers in a spring garden--tulips, crocuses and daffodils;
Forsythia bushes bring golden life to dull branches lacking leaves.
Grace--undeserved kindness from God above--is a
Gift that we pass on and on.
Heavenly messengers surround us all the time; angels
Hasten to do as God commands them.
Ink on a page that communicates truth
Irrigates our innermost being.
Joy on the faces of those gathered for a wedding
Joining husband and wife in life-long union.
"Kindred spirits," the surprising connection between people we
Keep company with.
Loveliness that manifests itself in a smile, sparkle or glint
Lifts us up from everyday cares.
Molecules so tiny, composing what's visible and invisible to human eyes;
Microscopes strong enough to detect what can make us sick.
Noble heroes of the past whose deeds we can emulate
Neighbours who go the extra mile for others.
Order brought by laws, governments and courts
Offering stability to men, women, children.
Purity of launderer's soap that mirrors how we're
Purged of our misdeeds by the blood of an innocent man.
Quiet early mornings when anything seems possible;
Questions that stir us to consider what's truly important.
Rain in the spring and summer to nourish the soil,
Resulting in bountiful harvests.
Sunrise to mark a fresh new day
Sabbaths to revive our bodies and souls
Truth heard in the pages of Scripture
Telling us the story of God's compassion for a fallen world.
Uncles, aunts, grandparents who connect
Us to a wider family.
Violet, indigo, azure, green, yellow, tangerine and ruby
Vibrant colours of the rainbow.
Winter, spring, summer, fall
Waxing and waning moons that show progress and the passage of time.
X~the Greek letter, used as a short form for
Χριστός, the hope of all nations.
Yearnings for the way things ought to be
Yield hope for the Kingdom of God that will one day set things right.
Zion, the Heavenly Jerusalem, anticipates a future where
Zealots of falsehood will not dwell.